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That’s really interesting, and he has some good points for sure, like the generally recognized drawbacks of standardized testing. But I also have some real problems with this presentation. For instance, it’s true that “divergent thinking” skills decrease as we age, but I don’t think you can really blame this on schools, or at least not entirely on schools; it’s called enculturation, and like all forms of human development, it involves both losses and gains for the individual. I happen to teach science in a public middle school, and just this afternoon spent an hour, one on one, helping a student who has been diagnosed with ADHD, but is not taking medication. Divergent—or scattered—thinking is not likely to be an asset for this child in the job market ten years from now. A culturally accepted skill set, on the other hand, would very probably be a real advantage. Especially considering the global competition for jobs this child is likely to face. On the other hand, this particular student’s abilities and limitations need to be cultivated so as to give him the greatest chance for success; and that is virtually impossible in any school setting, public or private, which educates large numbers of students. I include my school in that number, despite the fact that the sixth grade, which is what I teach, has only forty members. Everyone who wants to present an at least partially informed opinion on these extremely complex matters should really do some hard homework on the subject, and hesitate to offer certainty. NO one approach will work for everybody.
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It’s about time.
Along with many, many, many other students, I don’t learn the “normal” way, but I was trained by schools, family, and peers that sitting in a classroom for six hours listening someone talk at you then going home and trying to memorize then regurgitate what was taught. I tried extremely hard to be successful in school, but since the “only normal way” didn’t do anything for me, high school was terrible. Teachers and my parents thought I was lazy and I thought I was just plain stupid; I wanted UC Berkeley, I got community college because it’s near impossible to get any help. There IS help for others who really need it, but you might as well be searching for Atlantis.
Everyone is different. Gee, imagine THAT. Get it together, American school system.
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